Put a feather in your bird management programs

When birds fly south for the winter, the Sprague Pest Experts know just what to do. 

We consider fall the ideal time to help our commercial clients assess their bird management needs and determine what corrective actions need to be taken over the winter. There is much Sprague can do to prevent birds from becoming a nuisance or threat to commercial facilities, products and customers.  

Keith Rowney, Sprague Pest Solutions’ special services manager and certified bird control specialist, says  bird nesting activity declines significantly in the fall.

“Now is a good time to clean and sanitize areas impacted by a bird infestation over the summer. It’s also a good idea to gauge the effectiveness of your bird programs,” says Rowney. “Once the cleanup has been completed, keep an eye out for signs of new bird activity, such as nesting materials or droppings on the ground. New evidence indicates you may still have a problem.”

Rowney says fall is also an important time to review and set your budget for bird control work. Bird work can often exceed a client’s normal operating budget for traditional pest management services and should be planned in advance. Prioritizing the elements of a multi-faceted bird management program and determining the program’s cost is best determined now rather than later.

Another reason fall is important to bird management is because migratory birds that are protected by federal law – such as swallows – abandon their nesting sites and head south for warmer climates. Control efforts, primarily exclusion work, must be performed during this time frame to safely prevent the birds from returning in the spring and setting up shop again. 

The onset of colder weather also brings with it the winter aggregation effect on birds. Starlings, Canada geese and crows will come together in the fall and winter to share food, warmth and protection.

“There is strength in numbers. Gathering together is a survival mechanism for birds,” said Rowney. “Since they are no longer actively seeking nesting sites, there are fewer territorial feelings and species will co-mingle.”

For example, starlings will combine with blackbirds and attack crops and other food sources. Crows will gather in large numbers, entirely taking over trees near structures. Sparrows, pigeons, and resident birds seek protection from winter’s elements inside structures like retail stores and warehouses.

Commercial facilities need to be extra wary of aggregating birds, because they leave behind a remarkable amount of droppings. These droppings can contain listeria, E. coli, salmonella and other hazardous bacteria. Droppings easily enter facilities on the sole of an employee’s shoe. Worse yet, birds can gain access to the warm interior and their harmful droppings will land on food ingredients or preparation areas.

“In the past, bird control was often overlooked when it came to third-party audits. That is not the case anymore,” said Rowney. “Making sure birds to not pose a threat to your facility is essential due to increasing pressure from the regulatory and audit requirements seeking to safely steward food and packaging materials from farm to table.”

The Sprague Pest Experts offer clients an independent perspective on the best strategies for their facility, assistance with the budgeting process, and a deep tool box of bird management solutions.